Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Manhattan Marineland 1: Southwest
One of the most scenic and interesting boat rides in the world is hidden in plain sight in New York City. It's the ancient, tacky, tourist trap Circle Line tours of the island of Manhattan, and I cannot recommend the three-hour full circumnavigation highly enough.
There is a ghastly tour guide droning on into the microphone for most of the trip, but you can go to the open front bow of the boat and not have to listen to him.
The voyage starts at 42nd Street and 12th Avenue on the Hudson River, and journeys counterclockwise starting south.
Like San Francisco, Manhattan and its river neighbors are finally embracing their waterfront after centuries of using it for industry, warehouses and freeways, and in their place shiny glass condos are rising everywhere.
Jersey City on the western side of the river is mushrooming before everyone's eyes...
...mirroring the old financial district of Southern Manhattan.
The boat veered south for a glimpse of an unexpectedly ornate Ellis Island...
...before making a quick pass of the Totemic Tourist Icon and returning to the financial district...
...which was looking like a stock photo entitled "Storm Over Wall Street."